AI-composed song greets Pope

FEW aspects of life escape the touch of technology in cutting-edge Japan (日本), including an official song written to welcome Pope Francis on his four-day visit to Japan from 23 November.
Written by Jun Inoue, the song Protect All Life – The Signs of the Times is based on the theme of the Pope’s Japan visit and was partly composed using an artificial intelligence-powered (AI) program Inoue created that can write a piece of music in a few seconds.
Inoue, a producer and composer who has written for top bands such as Arashi, and a Catholic, said he agonised over using the AI program but finally decided to include it because the histories of music and technology were intertwined.
“I thought I should give everything I had to the song, so I decided to put in all the cutting-edge technology I had,” he told Reuters. He shares composing credit with the ‘Amadeus Code AI’.
The song, which was written at the behest of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, was played at masses in the city of Nagasaki (長崎) as well as Tokyo (東京) and comes in several versions, including instrumental and karaoke.
There are also dance steps and stylised hand gestures for the Japanese sign language version of the lyrics, and a video teaching them is posted on the official website for the pope’s visit.
Theme songs for papal visits have been composed before. One has been unveiled for Thailand (泰國), which the pope visited before Japan.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 02 December 2019)

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